Sunday, May 1, 2016

Interactive map shows ACT scores and poverty

Thanks to my friends at GenerationAll for sharing this image on Twitter, showing a Chicago view taken from the EdMap  interactive site.  The color circles on the map represent high schools with 150 or more students, and show the average ACT score for each school. The higher scores are in shades of green and the lower scores are in shades of red.

These are overlaid over a map showing demographics. The lighter shades of blue represent areas of higher concentrations of poverty.  If you zoom in closer you can clearly see a correlation between low ACT scores and high poverty.

This is the message I've been providing with map stories for nearly 20 years. Below is a map made using the interactive Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, showing the Woodlawn area of Chicago, and showing public schools that were on the 2008 Illinois schools low performance list.  


The green stars on my map are locations of non-school tutor/mentor programs in the area. On this map there are none within the Woodlawn area, which either means I do not have them in the database, or they do not exist.  

You can also add layers of information showing poverty levels, and layers showing assets, such as faith groups, colleges, hospitals and businesses.  A map view centered around a specific school could show political leaders and assets who should be working together to improve in school and out-of-school time learning opportunities for youth in that map view area. 

Youth in local schools could be creating these map stories.

Below is a presentation showing how other people can create their own map images, and then use them in blogs and newsletters and on social media to draw attention to a problem and to draw people together to try to reduce the problem.



While this uses the Program Locator as an example, any interactive map that enables you to zoom into a zip code, or a single school location, can be a platform used to create a jpg image following the same steps.  

The Program Locator was built in 2008 using what was then advanced technology, What's available for making maps in 2016 is much more sophisticated, but I don't have the dollars or talent to rebuild my platform, or to keep the data up-to-date.

Thus, I'm sharing examples of how people could create map-stories using any platform, and  using my stories as an example, while I'm also looking for partners in business, universities, and/or philanthropy, in Chicago, or any other city, to help upgrade my own mapping resources.

See more articles with ideas for using maps. click here

If you'd like to explore this just email me at tutormentor 2 at earthlink dot net.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Maps showing retail concentrations in cities

This map is one of a series of maps that I found in an article titled "The Storefront Index, on the CityCommentary web site. The maps were also described in this Washington Post article, 

In articles written between 2008-2011 on this blog, such as this, you can see the Tutor/Mentor Connection's efforts to show business locations in different parts of Chicago, who are assets who could be helping tutor/mentor programs grow in areas around each location.  I've not found a web site mapping business sites, so this one is possibly a valuable tool for those creating map stories like I do.

Update: 4/28/2016:  The Washington Post hosts an article showing winners and losers in the US Housing market, using maps to help build an understanding on a city-by-city basis and emphasizing the unequal impact on minorities vs Whites.  See story.  

Friday, April 22, 2016

Using Maps To Support Community Collaborations

All of the articles on this and the Tutor/Mentor blog aim to support the growth of non-school programs that connect urban youth with workplace volunteers.

I encourage you to spend time browsing past articles. See how concept maps are used to show strategy, and emphasize the need for long-term, on-going, flexible funding of youth serving programs.  See how GIS maps focus attention and resources on all high poverty areas of the Chicago region, not just a few high profile places.

I've been building a database of Chicago non-school tutor, mentor and learning programs since 1993 and use maps to show where these programs are located.  Below is an example from a map platform, showing how you can zoom into the map and look at a specific part of the neighborhood.


While I've been hosting an interactive Chicago Program Locator that can be used to create map views, I've also been pointing to platforms hosted by others. Below I'll point to the Community Commons platform and compare it to the Program Locator.

Faith groups in entire Chicago region.  


These two map views show faith groups who could be leading strategies that engage the resources of a faith group in support of tutor/mentor and learning programs in different high poverty neighborhoods.  This PDF outlines a strategy I've been sharing with faith leaders since the late 1990s.


Faith groups on Chicago's West Side

This shows how you can zoom into maps on interactive platforms, to get a closer view.  The Program Locator includes features that show zip code, community area and legislative districts.  The Community Commons platform has a feature for adding legislative district boundaries.


Others who could be helping - Program Locator feature

These two map views show the West side of Chicago. One shows poverty overlays. Both include green stars indicating locations of tutor/mentor programs in my database. Put the mouse over an icon and get the name of the organization. Double click and go to their web site.

The map on the left also adds information showing businesses, colleges and hospitals in the area, who should be serving as anchor organizations and leaders in on-going efforts to help the neighborhoods have a full range of world-class quality tutor/mentor programs.

On both of these maps you can see additional information that has been added by pasting the map image into Power Point, then adding additional information, such as additional locations of tutor/mentor programs, or data showing the number of high poverty youth living in each community area.


Birth to Work Tutor/Mentor Programs needed in every poverty neighborhood


This concept map is part of a series that I've summarized on this article.  It shows that at each stage of life young people need a full range of supports in order to move more successfully, and safely, to the next stage, GIS maps should show if such supports are available....and in every high poverty zip code.

This concept map is a model. Each node should point to a directory of web sites, like this, showing organizations that provide that service in one, or many, neighborhoods.  If that information were plotted on poverty maps, leaders could begin to better understand what supports exist, and which are missing. Leaders could begin to lead year-round marketing campaigns intended to draw visibility, volunteers and dollars to programs in each map area.

With the help of researchers and information collectors, and funders, such information could be made available, and kept updated on an on-going basis.  In this article you can see how I've been reaching out to universities to encourage adoption of this strategy. 


Here's one PDF essay focusing on information collection. 


Getting the information, organizing it and making it available is just one part of a 4 part strategy that needs to be embraced by many leaders in every city.  The concept map below illustrates these four strategies.



See this concept map described in this PDF essay.  1) Better information, 2) seen by more people, 3) understood by more people, 4) leads to more consistent support of organizations serving youth and families in high poverty areas, so each can grow to be great at what they do to help people climb out of poverty and into the American Dream.


Accountability Maps needed


Just mapping indicators showing places of need, mapping places where service is available is not enough.  We also need to create maps showing who is coming together to find ways to solve these problems, and/or who is taking actions that make resources available in different neighborhoods. The map shown here shows participation in a past Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conference. You can clearly see that business, media, government, and philanthropy are not represented.  Maybe they are meeting elsewhere. We won't know that unless organizers create participation maps like this.   Read this article about mapping events and this article about mapping philanthropy to learn more about this part of the strategy.

I don't find many other web sites where leaders are outlining their strategies, using maps and visualizations, the way I have been doing for nearly 20 years.  If you know of such places, please share the link and make an introduction.  If you see the value of the ideas I'm sharing then adopt them, and lead them, or offer your time, talent and dollars to help me keep this available to Chicago and other cities.


Today Congresswoman Robin Kelly hosted a press conference, announcing an #Urban Progress initiative.  Here's one of many tweets from that event, which includes photos of the high profile people who spoke.
I hope some of those leaders will view this and other articles I've written and duplicate what I've been doing for the past 20 years, to achieve a problem that still persist because too few have a deep commitment and a day-to-day map-based strategy, to draw people from the entire village together, and to mobilize needed resources for each high poverty neighborhood of Chicago and other big cities throughout the country.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mapping Philanthropy - Examples

If you look at the mission for the Tutor/Mentor Connection (T/MC), formed in 1993, and Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC, formed in 2011, it says "gather and organize all that is known about successful non-school tutoring/mentoring programs and apply that knowledge to expand the availability and enhance the effectiveness of these services to children throughout the Chicago region."  

That's what I've been focusing on for the past 23 years.  In doing so, I've gathered information that focuses on the resources needed to enable high-impact tutor/mentor programs to be available in more places. I've also built a library of links pointing to ideas about process improvement, collaboration, innovation, creativity, knowledge management and visualization. These represent skills that need to be learned, if we're going to do all we need to do so that great programs are not only available today, but are still available 10 or 15 years from now...with a growing network of students and adult alumni who are living lives free of poverty because of the long-term support they have received.

Understanding the flow of philanthropic dollars is essential.  Below are three map images, pointing to three web sites where maps are being used in creative ways.

BMA Funders Map - Shows philanthropic support for organizations serving Black Male Youth and Adults.  Sort by category, and zoom in to focus on different cities. Click on the yellow bubble and get detailed information. 


Learning by Giving Foundation grants map.Since 2003 this foundation has partnered with colleges and universities around the country to teach philanthropic habits to students, who then raise money to support different non-profits.  In the drop down menu you can sort by cause, college, year of donation, etc.  Using the map you can zoom into different cities to see who was funded, and by what university.


Chronicle of Philanthropy map of on-line giving. I wrote about this last November.  The image below was created by zooming into the Chicago region, then clicking on the 60623 zip code. The pop-up menu shows donations for an entire year (in this case March 2015-March 2016) and donations by category. This does not show the individual organizations receiving donations, but aggregates on regional levels. It enables a comparison of giving in different parts of the city, which quickly shows that high poverty neighborhoods receive less than more affluent areas. Note: this is not inclusive of all on-line donations, but only those made through Network for Good. 


The last map is a map view created using the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which was launched by the T/MC in 2008, and which I've tried to keep available since 2015, via the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. This first view shows the entire Chicago region, with overlays showing poverty areas, homicides in 2010, and locations of non-school tutor/mentor programs (green stars).

This second map is also from the Program Locator, but shows how you can zoom into the map to look at a smaller section of the city, as small as a few square blocks. On this map an overlay shows poorly performing public schools, with different color flags for elementary, middle and high school (from 2008).
Browse through maps shown on this blog and on the Tutor/Mentor blog, or the map gallery, and you can see dozens of maps created between 1994 and 2011, using the Program Locator or our desk top GIS work station.   

These maps illustrate the T/MC goal of collecting information that shows where non-school tutor/mentor programs are most needed, based on indicators such as poverty, violence, poor schools, etc. They also show what programs exist (based on surveys done since 1994) so that a) parents, volunteers and social workers can find programs; and b) so that leaders at the neighborhood and city level, including the business community, can build strategies that help existing programs get the resources they need to grow, while helping new programs form where more are needed.

There's more I've wanted to do. I'd like to be able to gather information on donations, as an overlay on this map, so leaders could see where more funds need to be distributed. In addition, I'd like to create an overlay that enables crowdfunding for the individual organizations shown on the map, and that collect information showing funds raised. This also would be used to try to influence greater giving in underfunded areas.

So far I've not found others who are creating map-directories for this purpose, although there are a growing number of organizations creating maps showing organizations in their networks (see list). In addition, I've not found platforms that map philanthropy, including maps showing a) indicators of need; b) existing providers; c) areas where more programs are needed.

I've never had consistent funding, or more than a few dollars to build the database, build and update the maps, create map stories, and use them to build public awareness, or to train others to use the program locator to create their own maps.  

Yet I continue to share this with the goal that volunteers and investors/benefactors will come forward to help me upgrade my own platforms and share it with others so this strategy is applied in every city, not just in Chicago.  

If you'd like to learn more about this use of maps, click here, or email me at tutormentor 2 at earthlink dot net.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Why I Attend Chicago Hack Night events

I've been attending Chicago Hack Night events for at least 2 years and I'm writing this article to help celebrate their 200th weekly gathering.  This image is from this week's event, where the Heartland Alliance presented information. You can see me in the middle, sitting by the wall. That's my usual spot. Helps me see better.

So why do I attend?

First, I'm not a technologist. I've been using technology as a tool to work smarter, think better, share ideas and network with others since the early 1980s.  I attend Hack Night meetings because I'm inspired by the ideas shared by speakers. I'm inspired by the talent and the work being done by people who are attending. I'm also  hoping to share from my own knowledge and experiences, while finding volunteers to help with my own work.

Here's a few highlights from my journey through technology and innovation, starting in 1980, when I was one of the first people at the Montgomery Ward Corporate Office in Chicago to have an Apple Lisa on their desk.  Ron Mantegna and Ken Novak, peers in the Retail Advertising department, were the catalysts who suggested that using the computer to create ad diagrams and update them would be more time efficient that doing them by hand, since the company changed ad plans so frequently.  At first, pepole laughed at me sitting at the computer, and called it a toy. By 1990 the entire multi million dollar ad planning and development process at Montgomery Ward was computerized based on the work we started in the early 1980s.

I tell this story because it has repeated over and over for the past 30 years. Others with better knowledge of how computers and the Internet work have prodded me to adopt new ideas and have supplied the tech talent to help me implement those ideas.  In the early 1980s it was Ken Novak who introduced me to Excel and helped me create a forecasting system that was used in the advertising planning process and generated millions of dollars of benefit. Later it was Ken who introduced new versions of technology, and this idea called "email".

As I applied these tools for my retail advertising job, I also applied them in my role as the volunteer leader of the tutoring program at Montgomery Ward.  While we spent millions on mass communications to draw people to 400 stores around the country, I spent time and talent to create mass communications (starting with duplicating machines) that told our 200-300 volunteers what to expect each week at the tutoring sessions.

In 1997 my first web site was created by the brother of one of our volunteers. Then, in 1998, Matt Mead, another one of our volunteers, said "I understand you're trying to build a web site. I can do that for you."

When Matt and I started talking I said "We'll need people with different talents to help us."  So, he created this graphic as the home page for the www.tutormentorconnection.org site that he built for me, using a technology called 'revista' which enabled me to edit text on the site. In 2005 this site was rebuilt using dot.net.nuke, by a team from IUPUI in Indianapolis. 

I've used this hub and spoke design over and over since then to communicate how I was trying to connect others to myself, and each other, in a constantly growing community of people and ideas focused on helping inner-city kids have the extra support they each need to move through school and into jobs.

In 1999, Steve Roussos, who was then a PhD student at the university of Kansas, used power point to create this visualization to describe the work I was doing. He called it a "Tutor/Mentor Learning Network", and drafted this paper to describe it to donors. I've built hundreds of power point presentations since then, inspired by Steve's work, including this PDF.  Steve was also the creator of the www.tutormentorexchange.net web site in 1998, which now is the home site for the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC. In 2000-2001, he also created an on-line documentation system called OHATS (Organizational History and Tracking System), modeled after work being done from the University of Kansas.


While I started collecting information about Chicago tutor/mentor programs in 1993, I did not have an idea of how to display that information until the librarian at the United Way/Crusade of Mercy showed me a geography magazine, and one of my volunteers at IBM introduced me to GIS mapping, and to the Metro Chicago Information Center in 1993.

I started mapping the database of programs in 1994 and published the first Chicago Tutor/Mentor Programs Directory in 1995, with contact information and address for more than 120 different youth serving organizations, along with dozens of more organizations who were working in some way to improve the life-outcomes for kids in poverty.

When I started the T/MC web site in 1998 this list of other organizations became the core of a web library that now points to more than 2000 other web sites, including Chicago Hack Night and similar data networking groups.  If you look at the link to the web library, you'll see it's outlined  using a concept map (CMAP tools), which was introduced to me by a former Peace Corps worker in 2005. I've created a whole library of concept maps since then.

In 2004 an intern from IIT and India recognized my goal of sharing this information on the Internet, and created a searchable program locator that duplicated what was in the printed Directory. This enabled users to search by zip code, type of program and age group served, to produce a map showing that program, and others in the same zip code.

In 2007 another volunteer from India, added an interactive map feature to the program locator, enabling us to zoom into neighborhoods to not only find organizations based on age group, type of program and time of day, but to also see indicators showing where the programs are most needed, and what assets were in that area who could be collaborating to help sustain existing programs or build new programs.

Now (when this is working properly) users can create their own neighborhood map view, to help bring others together to help support existing program or build new ones to fill voids.  This PDF describes how to make your own map using this program locator, or other data maps that now are available on the internet. Browse this blog, and the Tutor/Mentor blog, and you'll find many examples of this type of map-story.


In 2009 Valdis Krebs, one of the world's foremost experts on Social Network Analysis, spoke at the Tutor/Mentor Conference that I hosted in Chicago, then donated software that interns could  use to create maps showing participation in Tutor/Mentor Conferences.  This blog shows maps created in 2010. This article shows how I'm still trying to find interns and volunteers to create maps and visualizations that show how networks grow as a result of the work I and other innovators do.

When I attend Chicago Hack Night and similar gatherings of tech and data visualization people, I'm trying to connect with talented people who will help me continue to build tools and visualizations that bring people and ideas together and focus actions on places where time, talent and dollars will be needed for many, many years. I'm also sharing ideas from my own experiences and library, that others can apply in their own work.

The Chicago Hack Night has a tradition of letting everyone introduce themselves at the beginning of each week's gathering. As I do this, I am posting my intro on Twitter, as I did this week.

Last September I saw a Tweet with a network analysis map like this. I followed it and introduced myself to Marc Smith, who then pointed me to information that I could use to learn about NodeXL, and how I could ask him to create similar maps for me.  I created this tutorial so others could learn from my own journey.   

If every participant of a networking event, or conference, hosted by someone in Chicago or another city, were to post a tweet with #chihacknight , etc. maps using NODEXL could show who was participating and how they are connected to each other. Such maps can demonstrate the impact event organizers are having, while also helping participants expand their own networks and find talent and sponsors who will  help them with the work they are doing.

I really appreciate Chicago Hack Night and it's organizers and sponsors for creating a space where I can be inspired by the work of others, where I can share ideas that any of the participants might apply in their own work, and where I might find people who will volunteer time, talent and dollars to help me keep doing what I've been trying to do for the past 20 years.

I encourage anyone who has read this far to go to this site and see the many ways Chicago Hack Night is supporting technology innovation in Chicago.

Thus, I'm not a data scientist, or coder, and I depend on the talent of other people to create and maintain the technology platforms that share my ideas and bring people together to help youth in high poverty areas of Chicago. The examples posted on this blog are just a few showing how others have helped me in the past, and can help me again in the future.

They also may serve as inspiration for a project someone in Chicago, or elsewhere in the world, will develop and apply in the future.

While I'm not able to stay each week and contribute on the many projects in process, I'm available to connect between sessions to offer suggestions and/or point people to some of the resources and ideas I share.  Just Tweet me @tutormentorteam or introduce yourself in the comment section below.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Mapping Network Growth in Youth Development Field

I created this concept map in the mid 2000s to show a commitment of "helping all kids born or living in poverty in Chicago be starting jobs/careers by age 25" that needs to be shared by many.  A version of this on a web site would demonstrate that commitment.

This map is really an entry point to layers and layers of addition information, representing available knowledge as well as needed strategies that draw people together and generate a flow of ideas, talent and operating dollars to all of the people who are involved in this work in the same neighborhood and/or city.


The map shown above map is an outline of the web library I've been building since 1998, which was really started in the mid 1970s as a paper-based library.

Open nodes on the map and you eventually will get to a list of organizations which you can open to dig even deeper into the information that's available. It's like going to a university. The information available is much more than can be learned and absorbed in a day, or even over many years.  Yet, the more people dig into the information, the broader the range of ideas and strategies they will have to solve problems of poverty, inequality, social justice and workforce development.


Last September I connected with Marc Smith, one of the leaders of a network analysis project called NodeXL.  I wrote this blog article as a tutorial for those interested in learning more about what this is, and why it is important. I wrote another article in February, following the National Mentoring Conference.

Today, I listened to Marc talk to a group of students at Indiana University, via this YouTube video. I hope you'll take the time to listen and to read my blog articles.

In the concept map above and my web library, I point to more than 2000 other web sites. More than 200 of those are youth serving organizations in Chicago.  Others are research organizations, funders, or people who share ideas about collaboration, process improvement, knowledge management, etc. Many of the sites I point to have their own resource sections, thus pointing to even more web sites.  

By hosting this information on the Internet via blogs and web sites, I create the opportunity that on any given day someone from one of the organizations I point to can be digging into the information on my web sites and starting a conversation with someone else.

The problem is, we don't know if this is happening, and how often.  We don't know who is looking at the information, or connecting to us or each other, so we also don't know who still needs to be engaged.

Marc talks about how the #hashtags we use on social media enable us to track topics that people talk about.  He shows how the handle we use, like @tutormentorteam, can be captured using a network analysis tool like Node XL, to create a map showing who was involved in a conversation on a specific set of days, how they were connected to others, if the were, and what type of connectivity is taking place.  

I hosted Tutor/Mentor Leadership and Networking Conferences every six months from May 1994 to May 2015, and one of the goals was to help build relationships between participants, and to connect participants to myself and the library of information and ideas I host. Another was to create an on-line community where more people can connect, and where everyone has a chance to talk and express their own ideas.   Visit this page and you can see what organizations were part of each conference.

So far, I don't see many in the social service field, or in the narrower tutor/mentor field, trying to use maps to show participation in events they host, or in on-line conversations.  I also don't see any who are trying to show impact, by showing network maps of individual youth and/or volunteers who participate in their programs. I've written a variety of articles focused on network building, network analysis and networking that illustrate my ideas, and why understanding who you are connecting to is a critical first step in building the type of network that is needed to build and sustain a mentor-rich system of supports that will help more youth move safely through school and into jobs and careers.

Last week I posted an article, with this concept map, which shows the four part strategy I've developed over the past 20 years, and the work that needs to be done to enhance each step. I posted another article on Monday,  on the Tutor/Mentor blog.  I hope you'll read them, and share them with people in your own network.

I'm just one person with few skills and little funding, but with a broad vision. There's room for many to share this work, but we need to be connected, and we need to be using tools that show how we're connected and that enable others to join in.

By sharing this and other articles I create the possibility that one or more readers will forward this to others, who forward it to even more. One of those people will be the benefactor who endows the work I"m doing and not only provides funding for the next few years, but provides funding that moves this into one or more universities where it grows for the next 50 years.

Using tools like NodeXL we should be able to map this process.